Mwalimu Mwahima is among hundreds of Kenyans who have been registered as members of political parties without their knowledge or consent.
The Likoni MP has been listed as a member of Party of Action (POA) associated with presidential aspirant Raphael Tuju even though he belongs to the Orange Democratic Movement.
“I found my name on the register of POA yet I belong to ODM. I have since written to the registrar pointing out this anomaly hoping that it will be corrected,” Mr Mwahima said on Tuesday.
This comes as six MPs, including two assistant ministers were on Tuesday declared partyless by Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u.
However, the MPs who were declared partyless will not lose their seats in Parliament and are in the enviable position of being free to support any party in the House.
Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka and his Cooperatives Development counterpart Linah Jebii Kilimo, Mr Clement Waibara (Gatundu North), Mr Gidion Mbuvi Kioko (Makadara), Mr Barnabas Muturi (Kiharu) and Mr David Mwaniki Ngugi (Kinangop) were declared partyless following a court order last week.
According to Ms Ndung’u, Ms Kilimo’s sponsoring party, Kenda, did not meet the requirements of the Political Parties Act 2011, while Mr Onyonka was removed from the register under Section 17 (4) of the Political Parties Act of 2007.
Mr Waibara is partyless in the membership database of the registrar, Mr Mbuvi was removed from the register pending the determination of a petition filed against him by Narc-Kenya while Mr Muturi and Mr Ngugi’s Sisi kwa Sisi party did not meet the requirements of the Political Parties Act.
The fate of six other MPs also hangs in the balance, awaiting the outcome of court cases filed against them for declaring that they had quit the parties that sponsored them to Parliament.
In the party membership fraud, Ms Ndung’u said she has so far received more than 300 complaints from Kenyans whose names were in party lists without their consent, raising fears that many others could be affected.
“We are receiving these complaints everyday, but what I can tell you is that we have so far received more than 300 complaints cutting across all the political parties,” she said.
Those who are affected cannot join their preferred parties unless they write to the Registrar denouncing membership of the party in which they were registered illegally as stipulated in the Political Parties Act.
It also means that some presidential candidates risk being disqualified because they were endorsed by non-party members.
The law requires that a presidential candidate presents a list of at least 48,000 signatures of voters who are members of their party to qualify to run for the presidency.
Many political parties will also find it difficult to conduct their primaries due to “poaching’ of supporters by other parties. Leading political parties were quick to deny any involvement in the malpractice.
ODM deputy secretary-general Joseph Nkaiserry said the Orange party was not involved in the malpractice.
“ODM can never do such a thing, we were the first party to complain about parties registering our members fraudulently. We are demanding that the registrar takes action against parties, which are involved in such things” he said.
Ford People leader Henry Obwocha said his party “has not involved itself in that kind of electoral mischief. Our records are clean.”
Ford Kenya secretary-general Eseli Simiyu said he had received five complaints from Ukambani and Migori and was verifying the claims before taking action.
“If we find that some of our people were involved, we will discipline them as a party because we do not condone such acts,” he stated.
A random survey by the Nation revealed that the practice was widespread.
Sunday Nation columnist Jack Otieno, who discovered that he had been registered as a member of The National Alliance (TNA), said:
“I thought it is something that happens to people who follow politicians around for handouts until I saw my name on that list. It just shows how politicians take all of us for granted.”
Mr Josack Biketi said he had been registered as a member of Kaddu, which he has never joined, while Mr Robi Vincent Sarara, a student in the UK, said his name was in the Ford-K list.
Mr Caleb Omwenga Mose said he is listed as a member of the United Democratic Movement.
Similar complaints came from Mr Sammy Maina (Kaddu), Kagure Gacheche (Federal Party of Kenya) and Henry Otieno Okeyo (Labour Party of Kenya).
The social media has also been abuzz with similar complaints over recent days. Acting Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairman Samuel Tororey said the commission had conducted an internal survey and discovered that 11 out of its 90 staff were registered in parties without their knowledge.
However, Ms Ndung’u maintained that her office did not have the capacity or mechanism to establish whether parties registered members without their consent.
She warned that it is an offence punishable by law for any political party to register a member without his or her knowledge. Any party doing so could be de-registered and penalised.
In a letter to parties, Ms Ndung’u, warned those who may have registered members in a fraudulent manner or have falsified information presented to her to remedy the breach immediately or be de-registered and fined not less than Sh1 million.
“We urge anybody with complaints regarding their registration status to write to the political party they have been registered with and forward a copy to the RPP on firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Ms Ndung’u.
The Nation learnt that some parties could have resorted to such malpractices to beat the April 30 deadline to submit the lists of their registered members.
Reported by Oliver Mathenge, Peter Leftie and Paul Ogemba